Tag Archives: astronomy

Star Gazing in Michigan

Meteor CollageStart now to plan your (safe and socially-distant) star-gazing nights this summer. Find a place far from the city lights on a cloudless night.

  • Delta Aquarid Shower  produces about 20 meteors an hour from July 12 to Aug. 23, and peak July 28-29.  The meteors radiate from the constellation Aquarius and are best viewed after midnight and before dawn.
  • The Perseid Shower runs from July 17 through August 24, with the best viewing expected August 11-13. They can best be viewed from Dark Sky Preserves in Michigan State Parks.

Meteors look gorgeous shooting across the sky, but meteors and our planet have a history. Find out by watching Big History: Deadly Meteors. Logon with your last name and 7-digit Raider number.



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Dog Days of Summer?

Dog Days of SummerAccording to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, “the Dog Days of Summer are traditionally the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, which coincide with the dawn rising of Sirius, the Dog Star, the brightest of the stars. This is soon after the Summer Solstice, which of course also indicates that the worst summer heat will soon set in.”

Try lakeside / beach time with your dog (and family?) to “take the edge off”  July heat, or, grab a telescope some night and look for Canis Major (Big Dog) with Sirius shining brightly. And take a look at the Astronomy Subject Guide.


Canis Major

Canis Major



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Grand Rapids-born Astronaut Back on Earth!

Christina Hammock Koch, a NASA astronaut, landed back on Earth in Kazakhstan this morning after serving 328 days aboard the International Space Station. Koch now holds the record for longest single spaceflight in history by a woman. She returned with two of her colleagues, Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of Roscosmos and Luca Parmitano of  the European Space Agency.

Koch was born in Grand Rapids and raised in North Carolina where she  earned  BS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics, and a MS in Electrical Engineering from NC State.  Koch gained popularity by sharing her beautiful photos of the Earth.

You might have heard a whoosh of noise this morning – undoubtedly made by hundreds of Tina’s relatives on “the Ridge” in Comstock Park breathing a sigh of relief that she has arrived home safely.

For more on astronomical news, check out the Astronomy Subject Guide.

Tina Koch lands on Earth



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Experience the Dark Skies of Michigan

Rather than the bright lights of <insert your favorite city>, consider a summer jaunt to the Dark Side. In addition to 6 Michigan DNR Dark Sky Reserves, Headlands International Dark Sky Park, near the Straits of Mackinac, is a great place to stargaze without all the usual light pollution.   If you’re interested in astronomy closer to home, check out these local observatories on the Astronomy Subject Guide.

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By Janelle Yahne
Circulation Associate

Wondering how the night sky changes with the seasons? As the days get shorter, the position of the stars shift and some constellations might not be seen until other times of the day. In honor of Red Planet Day (or Mars), below is a small selection of astronomy resources (besides the books of course) to get us all looking at the stars more.  Of course you can also listen the The Planets, by Gustav Holst. Check out Mars, the Bringer of War (short sample) from The Planets. It is amazing.

Astronomy (periodical and database)

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (really cool images)

Sky and Telescope (periodical and database)

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